$$f(x) = x^x \tag{1}$$

and try to find its derivative for real values of $x$.

Before this we should mention that this function is well defined only when $x \gt 0$.

In other words... to avoid any complications we are looking at this function only for positive values of $x$.

**I. How do we go about finding the derivative $f'(x) = (x^x)'$ ?**

Well, we will use the following identity

$$a^x = e^{x \cdot \ln a} \tag{2}$$

which is well-known from high school math and which holds true for any $a \gt 0$ and any $x \in \mathbb{R}$.

Substituting $a = x$ in this identity we subsequently get

$$f(x) = x^x = e ^ {x \cdot \ln x}$$

$$f'(x) = e ^ {x \cdot \ln x} \cdot (x \cdot \ln x)'$$

$$f'(x) = e ^ {x \cdot \ln x} \cdot (1 \cdot \ln x + x \cdot \frac{1}{x})$$

$$f'(x) = e ^ {x \cdot \ln x} \cdot (\ln x + 1)$$

$$f'(x) = x ^ x \cdot (\ln x + 1) \tag{3}$$

The last equation $(3)$ gives us the derivative which we wanted to find.

In the above derivation we used several simple facts from math analysis.

$$(e^x)' = e^x$$

$$(f(g(x)))' = f'(g(x)) \cdot g'(x)$$

$$(u(x) \cdot v(x))' = u'(x) \cdot v(x) + u(x) \cdot v'(x)$$

Finally let us restate the above established formula.

$$ \large { (x^x)' = x ^ x \cdot (\ln x + 1) } \tag{4}$$

**II. How do we find $\displaystyle{ \lim_{x \to 0^{+}} f(x) } = \displaystyle{ \lim_{x \to 0^{+}} x^x }$ ?**

I think the easiest way of finding this limit which I have seen is by letting $x=e^{-t}$ where $t$ is some very large positive number. Then we easily get the following.

$$\lim_{x \to 0^{+}} f(x) = \lim_{x \to 0^{+}} x^x = \lim_{x \to 0^{+}} e ^ {x \cdot \ln x} = \lim_{x \to 0^{+}} e ^ {(\ln x) \cdot x} = $$

$$ = \lim_{t \to \infty} e^{(-t) \cdot e^{-t} } = \lim_{t \to \infty} e^{ \frac{(-t)}{e^{t}} } = e ^ {\lim_{t \to \infty} \frac{(-t)}{e^{t} } } = e^0 = 1 $$

Here the main fact which we used was that

$$\lim_{t \to \infty} \frac{(-t)}{e^{t} } = 0$$

which is quite obvious given that the numerator is a polynomial of $t$ and the denominator is the exponential function $e^t$.

This way we have just calculated this quite remarkable limit

$$ \large \lim_{x \to 0^{+}} x^x = 1 \tag{5}$$

Finally... here is a video demonstrating nicely an informal numerical approach to finding the same limit What is 0 to the power of 0?

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